Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cover Letters and Bragging

I will delay a more past-reflective post once again, because I spent all my writing time today on an email, a cover letter and a resume. (I'm applying for a job as an editorial assistant!) Writing the cover letter was by far the most bizarre writing experience. I had to write a letter to a stranger, telling her how awesome I am! The language of the resume and cover letter is alien to my daily life. A lifetime of social experience, especially living in Japan, has conditioned me to downplay my accomplishments and wait for others to praise me.

If I were Achilles or Odysseus or Hector, reciting my glorious deeds and prowess at everything I set my hand to would come easily--I'd have had a lot of practice, as a man in a culture and religion where salvation comes through self-glorification (as long as it doesn't overstep into hubris, which gets you damnation).

But as an Asian-American woman, clinging to a religion that praises humility and socialized into a historically Protestant culture where public displays of pride were anathema, writing a cover letter is downright unnatural. It helps to think of it as describing how my skills match the specified qualifications, but still, the experience is, in a word:


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